It isn't easy to be a dad. You dads probably know that by now. But, if you are one you'd best do it well! Here are some insights from "Focus on the Family" verifying what we know, fatherhood it crucial to the development of healthy kids.
A father is more than a "second adult."
That a mother is necessary to her child is rarely denied, but in a culture which openly questions the mother-father family structure, the role of a father is often portrayed as little more than a biological contributor, or a second adult whose gender is meaningless to child development. Fatherhood studies say quite the opposite: a father contributes uniquely to his children's lives, and he is essential to their well-being.
Fathers are essential to child well-being
Emotional and intellectual development - As a male parent, a father brings unique contributions to the job of parenting that a mother cannot. Psychology Today explains, “Fatherhood turns out to be a complex and unique phenomenon with huge consequences for the emotional and intellectual growth of children.”1
Avoiding incarceration - Studies have shown that the presence of a father strongly correlates to children avoiding incarceration. The absence of the father as an authority figure can contribute to a child’s disregard for laws and rules. A survey of youth in custody concluded that “70% of juveniles in state reform institutions grew up in single or no-parent situations.”2
No substitute - There is no substitute for a father’s love, involvement and presence in the life of his children. As noted sociologist David Popenoe explains, “Fathers are far more than just "second adults" in the home. Involved fathers – especially biological fathers – bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring.”3
Fathers are uniquely-equipped to contribute to children’s needs
Different relational styles broaden a child's experience - Dr. Kyle Pruett explains that fathers have a distinct style of communication and interaction with children. By eight weeks of age, infants can tell the difference between their mother or father interacting with them. This diversity, in itself, provides children with a broader, richer experience of contrasting relational interactions — more so than for children who are raised by only one parent. Whether they realize it or not, children are learning at the earliest age, by sheer experience, that men and women are different and have different ways of dealing with life, other adults and children. This understanding is critical for their development. Dr. Pruett says "A father, as a male biological parent, brings unique contributions to the job of parenting a child that no one else can replicate."4
Verbal patterns teach different communication styles - Mothers will simplify their words and speak on the child’s level. Men are not as inclined to modify their language for the child. Mother’s way facilitates immediate communication. Father’s way challenges the child to expand her vocabulary and linguistic skills — an important building block of academic success.5
Fathers and mothers are necessary for balanced discipline - Educational psychologist Carol Gilligan tells us that fathers stress justice, fairness and duty (based on rules), while mothers stress sympathy, care and help (based on relationships). Fathers tend to observe and enforce rules systematically and sternly, which teach children the objectivity and consequences of right and wrong. Mothers tend toward grace and sympathy in the midst of disobedience, which provide a sense of hopefulness. Again, either of these by themselves is not good, but together, they create a healthy, proper balance.
So, what do you do when you have a really big job?
You could do like Noah did. When He was given the assignment of saving his family from the judgment of the flood he handled the big job by having a narrow focus.
He became a successful earthly father by commiting himself to pleasing his Heavenly Father.
The job of a father is to pray for your family, to provide for your family and to protect your family. Noah accomplished all three by doing one thing - obeying God!
Guys, learn from Noah, If you want to handle the big job of being successful at all the things required of being a godly dad do one thing - obey God!
"Noah did everything just as God commanded him." Are you obeying God in everything?